Cannabis, Cannabinoids and Celiac Disease: The Big Question

It’s the end of 2016 and I think the time has come to talk about our election results…

In November, 8 states voted to legalize medical marijuana.

With medical marijuana now legal in 28 states (over half the nation), I figure the time has come to ask the question:

Can Marijuana help treat Celiac Disease?

That’s a damn good question.

Due to the DEA’s scheduling of Cannabis, there isn’t much research out there regarding the medicinal benefits for Celiac’s. However, there is one study that we can try and draw information from.

In 2013, Researchers at the University of Teramo in Italy conducted a study on the presence of cannabinoid receptors in the gut. After comparing a control group, a group of celiac’s who consume gluten and a group of celiac’s on a gluten-free diet, the researchers found that celiacs who consumed gluten had a significantly higher number of cannabinoid receptors in their gut than either of the other groups.

This led the researchers to the determination that there is in fact, “therapeutic potential of targeting cannabinoid receptors in patients with celiac disease.”

So theoretically yes, there is potential for marijuana to help treat Celiac Disease. 

Lucky for us, we don’t need to judge from hypotheticals. With multiple states listing Celiac Disease as a medical qualification for cannabis, the evidence is out there.

Jessica Deno, a blogger at Life of a Celiac, writes that:

Marijuana ‘cools the gut,’ in which it slows down the muscle contractions that move food through the stomach and intestines and reduces the secretion of liquid into the intestines associated with diarrhea (one of the most severe symptoms of the disease)...Marijuana also controls the muscle spasms associated with diarrhea. It also increases appetite and can offset the inefficiency in the Celiac’s ability to absorb nutrients from the food you eat.
— Jessica Deno

Not only can medical marijuana help to reduce symptoms now, it also helps prevent the development of colon cancer, a serious risk to Celiacs.

According to the National Cancer Institute:

  • Cannabinoids may inhibit tumor growth by causing cell death, blocking cell growth, and blocking the development of blood vessels needed by tumors to grow. Laboratory and animal studies have shown that cannabinoids may be able to kill cancer cells while protecting normal cells.
  • Cannabinoids may protect against inflammation of the colon and may have potential in reducing the risk of colon cancer, and possibly in its treatment.

Now that you’ve got the info, if you live in a legal state you can ask your doctor if it’s the right move for you. Some people swear by it, others swear at it. Either way, time to find out for yourself.

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